As a kid who grew up in the Northeast, I can't say that I've been to my fair share of Nascar events. In fact, before Sunday, I had been to exactly zero. But after my experience at Talladega (aka the New Hampshire Motor Speedway) I can safely say that I'm one of the biggest Nascar fans in the northern Boston area between the ages of 21 and 23.
Prior to arriving at my first Nascar tailgate ever, I had a preconceived image in my head about what I was about to walk into (which was mostly shaped by Will Ferrell). The first indication that my expectations were going to be pretty accurate came when we were driving into the parking lot and I noticed a 55 year-old man wearing a Sunny D tank top. If that doesn't scream Nascar tailgate then I don't know what does.
We proceeded to drive through a sea of RV's, which were flying far too many confederate flags for my liking, until we reached the main parking lot. As we were unpacking the coolers and camera equipment from the car we were greeted by a golf cart full of middle aged women zipping by us screaming the lyrics to who let the dogs out. Seemed a little aggressive for 11:30 am, but as a rookie Nascar tailgater I was in no position to judge.
As we started to explore the tailgate area, our main focus was to talk to the locals to try and learn the ropes so we didn't stick out as, well, northeast college kids at their first Nascar race. So we poured our Whiteclaws into Natty Light cans and got to work.
As the day progressed and we met more and more people, it became increasingly evident that this crowd was not big fans of wearing t-shirts. I started getting a little worried that my LFG tank (available here) wasn't gonna cut it, but I think the beer was flowing too fast for anyone to call me out.
We made our way down to the race track, hopping from tailgate to tailgate along the way talking to as many Nascar die-hards as possible. We met everyone from 80 year-old men who had been going to Nascar events since the 50's, to teenagers who were going to their first ever race. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't give a shoutout to the Tit Crew,™ a group of ladies who attend Nascar events all over the country spreading their love for the sport. Real great group of gals.
Eventually we arrived down at the main concourse which can be described as a collection of drunk, shirtless Nascar fans eating hot dogs, or as Loudon, NH calls it, a Sunday morning. The task then shifted from trying to blend in, to trying to corral anyone for more than 10 seconds for an interview.
Our interviews were centered around three main questions:
1. How would you feel about instituting a 65mph speed limit in Nascar?
2. Can you give us your best race-ending finish line call?
3. How do you feel about the recent news that Rob Gronkowski is coming back to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars this year?
A lot of people appreciated our questions; some didn't. But nonetheless, you can say what you want about Nascar fans, but you can't say they don't love their sport.
LFG Fan of the Game:
From this point forward LFG will be awarding the Fan of the Game award to our favorite fan from each event that we attend. Unfortunately, we were not able to get the name of our first Fan of the Game winner for alcohol related reasons (he was unable to say his name). We mistakenly offered him a beer before we were aware of his advanced inebriation, which he thankfully declined saying that a beer won't do, he needed something harder. So congrats on the award whatever your name is; hope you got to mix in a water at some point.
Overall, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway was an unbelievable experience. Nascar fans are some of the most unique sports fans I've ever encountered, and as wild and crazy as they are, I can't help but respect the passion they have for their sport. They could not have been more welcoming and they were just as excited to talk to us as we were to them. I think it's safe to say that LFG will be attending Nascar events for years to come.
***check out video content from this event on our social media platforms @LFGSports